Tampa Bay Prescription Pill Abuse A Problem For Legitimate Patients

Tampa Bay Prescription Pill Abuse A Problem For Legitimate Patients

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is coming down hard on manufacturers and distributors of prescription pills. It is closely watching production and distribution patterns. It is suspending substance licenses when suppliers are seen distributing prescription pills to pharmacies that plan to sell them to patients with illegitimate prescriptions.

Last October, the Florida legislature passed a new law that restricted pain clinics from dispensing over a three-day supply of narcotics to patients who paid in cash. There are over 850 pain clinics registered in Florida. Although many of them are seeking new patients through flashy advertisements that promise all kinds of pain can be treated, many pain clinics stopped sales completely in response to the new law and sent their patients to pharmacies.

Oxycodone is one of the most widely used prescription drugs and used to treat pain. The street favorite, known as “Oxy,” is at the very center of the government’s battle against pain pill abuse. As a result, legitimate patients who are in real pain are suffering the consequences of the government crackdown. Oxycodone has become harder to locate and more expensive to purchase. Patients in pain have had to switch to different, less effective, medications that are easier to get.

One result of the government crackdown on the prescription pill problem is that pill mills have been shut down. Also, drug wholesalers have been affected in that they can now only receive a limited supply of certain pills like oxycodone. When their supplies are gone, they cannot get more for the entire month. This forces pharmacists to turn away business and attempt to discern between valid pain patients and addicts on a whim to determine who to sell to.

Maj. Donna Lusczynski of the sheriff’s special investigations division in Hillsborough County, Florida, reports that there are smaller groups of people that gather in pain clinic parking lots. “It’s not like the barbeque out back” like it used to be. Luscynski reports that an oxycodone pill purchased on the street that was once $8 to $10 has increased to $10 to $15 due to its decreased availability. In a nutshell, the recent legislation has changed the very nature of the prescription pill business.

Another side effect of the increased price of oxycodone is a higher rate of violent crime. In Florida, there were over 1,800 pharmacy robberies over the last three years, mostly related to individuals attempting to secure narcotic painkillers.

Seven people in Florida die each day from overdosing on prescription pills. Officials state that the true test of whether the government crackdown on prescription pill abuse has been effective will be lower deaths from overdose. We do not yet have statistics on this point.

Needless to say, prescription pill abuse is creating a plethora of problems in Florida. The individuals suffering the unfortunate side effect of the crackdown against prescription pill addiction arguably the most, are the people who legitimately need the drugs.


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